Starting in January 2020, Microsoft stopped supporting Windows 7 systems. This decision was discouraging for many users, as Windows 7 was one of the most popular operating systems and was used by millions of people. .
Although Microsoft released Windows 8 and Windows 10 after its release, the popularity of Windows 7 has never gone down. It provided users with a modern interface to their system and raised Microsoft’s standards after the Windows Vista disaster.
Many declare this decision as a strategic decision by Microsoft so that more and more users join the current version of Windows-Windows 10. Since Microsoft devotes most of its resources to creating and updating Windows 10, it is obvious that they want a maximum of users on Windows 10 rather than on any other operating system.
Now that its support is over, that doesn’t mean you can’t use Windows 7 on your laptop at all. Don’t worry, if your system is running Windows 7, it won’t be dead. Well, at least from now on. But since support is stopped, it means that there will be no new updates, which also means no updated security patch.
For a variety of reasons, many users still use Windows 7. Many of them perform their essential tasks which also involve the Internet. Since there are no latest security patches available on Windows 7, these users are the most vulnerable to online attacks.
If you are one of those users, who still uses Windows 7 operating system on your laptops or PC, here are some valuable tips to protect it from external threats.
1. Secure your system with security solutions
Since Windows 7 update is disabled, its built-in security solution is outdated and unable to detect the latest security threats. Thus, your system is exposed to being attacked by harmful malware. It is essential to secure your system with an appropriate anti-malware solution that can protect it from malicious activity.
If you are carrying essential files on your Windows 7 system, it is not enough to just get antivirus software, as there is always a threat of ransomware attacks. Thus equipped your anti-malware system which also prevents you from ransomware attacks, or you can have a robust anti-ransomware installed for additional protection of your files.
2. Use a secure web browser
Browsing the Internet using an unsecured browser in Windows 7 is like inviting malware to party on your system. Obviously, you don’t want that. It is therefore recommended not to use unsecured web browsers like Internet Explorer on your Windows 7 devices. Instead, you can opt for browsers that have committed to support the Windows 7 operating system for a few months more.
Google Chrome has extended its support to Windows 7 users as of July 15, 2021.
Likewise, Microsoft’s new Chromium-based Edge browser will also be available for Windows 7 until July 2021.
Mozilla Firefox is also available for Windows 7 currently, however, it is not clear how long they would support it for.
3. Remove bloatware and unnecessary programs
Bloatware are programs preinstalled on your laptop or PC. Besides them, many third-party applications can be installed on your Windows 7 system, many of which may come from unknown sources. Since Windows 7 is no longer supported, it is best to get rid of bloatware and unnecessary applications.
Uninstalling them would reduce the risk of external threats and security breaches. In addition, it would also free up space on the hard drive. It is also recommended to frequently update the necessary applications until the updates are available.
4. Get a VPN service
If you need to use the Internet while working on Windows 7, instead of browsing directly, get yourself a good Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. The VPN would protect your online identity and privacy while you browse the Internet.
A good VPN would hide your private information like IP addresses, browsing activity and geolocation. It would also encrypt your files while you are exchanging them over the Internet.
By good VPN, we mean paid ones that offer more reliability and security. Free software is mainly adware.
5. Get a password manager
Since your operating system is out of date, you can’t just rely on old passwords and reuse them. Get a good password manager that would help you create a unique and strong password for the system. You can also save the password of your other accounts such as Gmail, Facebook, Instagram and many others.
6. Disconnect your device with the network
Since Windows 10 is an advanced version of Windows 7, all programs that run on Windows 7 must also run on Windows 10. However, some hardware-specific games and software only work on Windows 7. It’s is also one of the main reasons why users don’t switch to Windows 10.
If you are one of these users, it is suggested to cut your Windows 7 system off the Internet. Since the Internet is the biggest gateway to harmful and malicious programs such as Trojans, ransomware, spyware and others, it is best to keep your insecure system away. If possible, also disconnect your USB ports.
7. Learn About Malware Attacks
Malware attacks are increasing steadily. Cybercriminals are more and more advanced and evolve to violate even secure systems. Getting a complete security solution for your system is good, but not enough. If you are not familiar with the attack methods used by cyber criminals, you will not be able to save your system any longer; it doesn’t matter whether it’s Windows 7 or Windows 10. So please find out about the different malware, how they get entry into the system, what tricks cybercriminals use to trick users into installing the malware, how to identify an unsecure or fraudulent website and program.
So here are some tips to protect your Windows 7 devices. However, it is advisable to upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as possible because, no matter how many security measures are taken, working on an outdated system is always a risky task.